Local Atlanta news

Dan Raby / WABE

AT&T's potential $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner could mean changes for Atlanta-based Turner Broadcasting.

Turner Broadcasting is owned by Time Warner and employs about 5,000 in Atlanta.

Brandon Smith at Emory's Goizueta Business School says Turner and other Time Warner entities face uncertainty.

"What's unclear is when AT&T makes this acquisition and moves forward, are they going to keep these entities intact,” Smith said.

Smith says most mergers do lead to consolidation within the organizations.

In this Sept. 9, 2016, file photo, basketball Hall of Fame inductee Shaquille O'Neal speaks during induction ceremonies in Springfield, Mass. Krispy Kreme announced on Oct. 24, 2016, that O'Neal is now a part-owner of one of the company's locations in Atl
AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File

Shaquille O'Neal may have a new addition to his ever-growing list of nicknames: "The Big Doughnut."

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts says that the basketball Hall of Famer is an owner of one of its downtown Atlanta franchises. The company says O'Neal is an owner of the Krispy Kreme location on Ponce de Leon Avenue in the city.

In this Tuesday, July 19, 2016 photo, a rower moves past the launching docks at Lake Lanier Olympic Park, home of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games rowing events, in Gainesville, Ga.
AP Photo/David Goldman

There's a lack of water at Lake Lanier.

The lake, which is the source of Atlanta's drinking water, is roughly eight feet below full pool, according to the Lake Lanier Association.

It's a low not seen in nearly four years.   

“We don’t have a giant river like you will see in cities like Pittsburgh and when we go into periods of drought we see our water supplies like Lake Lanier start to recede pretty quickly,” said Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Jason Ulseth.

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Mike Love is the co-founder of the Beach Boys.  He’s been taking the stage with the group for over half of a century.

He tells the story of his life on and off the stage in his new book “Good Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy.”

“You know my father had passed away a couple of years ago, and there are things that I would have liked to have, you know, heard from him. So I was thinking, my children, my grandchildren, friends and fans … it would be nice if I would give my account of this incredible odyssey called the Beach Boys,” said Love in an interview with WABE.

Mary Claire Kelly / WABE

Gwinnett County has had four days of long lines at its only early voting location, so now it's opening more.

County communications director Joe Sorenson said two new locations, fully staffed, will open Monday.

"To find enough people to actually fill of these advance voting centers was the most difficult thing," Sorenson said.

The new sites are the George Pierce Park Recreation Center in Suwanee and Lenora Park in Snellville. Like the original location, the county elections office in Lawrenceville, they will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting Monday.

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

Burn bans are in effect in five Metro Atlanta counties.

Local news organizations report that people in Hall, Forsyth, Fayette, Clayton and Gwinnett counties will not be allowed to burn items due in part to an ongoing drought.

Officials say they're worried about a home catching fire under dry conditions and are asking people to take yard debris to recycling centers instead of burning them.

Fayette County Fire Marshal Jeff Felmet says an acre burned last week after a campfire was abandoned before being properly extinguished.

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This weekend there are events to help get you in the Halloween spirit, a special tour where you can explore the unique architecture of a downtown neighborhood, and a food festival that introduces you to some of the city’s best restaurants and chefs.

Atlanta PlanIt has compiled their top picks for events happening this weekend, Oct. 21 through 23.

Friday, Oct. 21

The Ghastly Dreadfuls

A man convicted of killing an Atlanta police officer and wounding a second officer with an AR-15 rifle was executed late Wednesday, becoming the seventh inmate put to death in Georgia this year.

Gregory Paul Lawler, 63, was pronounced dead at 11:49 p.m. at the state prison in Jackson after he was injected with the barbiturate pentobarbital. He was convicted of murder in the October 1997 slaying of Officer John Sowa and for critically wounding Officer Patricia Cocciolone.

Alison Guillory / WABE

Georgia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.1 percent in September, according to the state Department of Labor.

That’s up from 4.9 percent in August. 

Officials say more jobs were created in September, but the number of people looking for employment also grew. 

“In September, we had the largest increase in our labor force we’ve seen in nearly a quarter of a century,” said state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.

Georgia’s labor force, which includes people with jobs and those actively looking for one, grew by 25,737 to 4,918,505 in September.

Russ Bynum / Associated Press

A federal judge Wednesday refused to order a second extension of Georgia's voter registration deadline in coastal areas that evacuated for Hurricane Matthew.

The decision came just days after the same judge ordered a brief extension for a single storm-stricken county.

The Democratic National Committee has apologized after one of its campaign buses was spotted dumping raw sewage along a road outside Atlanta.

News outlets report a Lawrenceville auto shop employee alerted police Tuesday morning after witnessing the sewage getting dumped into a storm drain. The bus, which bears the slogan "Forward Together" and features the likenesses of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and running mate Tim Kaine, was in town for an early voting event.

This undated photo provided by the Georgia Department of Corrections on Wednesday, Oct. 12. 2016, shows death row inmate Gregory Paul Lawler. Convicted of killing an Atlanta Police Officer John Sowa in 1997, he is scheduled to be executed in Oct. 19, 2016
Georgia Department of Corrections via AP

A man convicted of killing an Atlanta police officer and wounding a second officer with an AR-15 rifle is scheduled to be the seventh person executed by the state this year.

Gregory Paul Lawler, 63, is set to die by injection of the barbiturate pentobarbital on Wednesday night. He was convicted in the October 1997 slaying of Officer John Sowa and for critically wounding Officer Patricia Cocciolone.

Courtesy of france-atlanta.org

As part of France-Atlanta, an exhibition and program is being presented called “Cartooning for Peace: The of Art of Democracy.” Three world-renowned press cartoonists participated in the program – Jean “Plantu” Plantureux with Le Monde, France, Michel Kichka with Courrier International who is based in Israel, and our own Mike Luckovich with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Willie Grover voted early in Fulton County at the Southeast Atlanta Public Library for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Tasnim Shamma / WABE

The final presidential debate between the top two candidates, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, is Wednesday night, but more than 146,500 Georgia voters have already cast their ballots.

Heyward Young, a resident of Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward, said he doesn't need to see any more debates and is looking forward to the end of the election.

Pedestrians enter the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Friday, April 24, 2009 in Atlanta.
AP Photo/Gregory Smith

The Federal Reserve has received a lot of criticism recently for its lack of diversity. The leaders of the central banking system are almost all white men.

But now that the president of one of the Fed’s 12 regional banks in Atlanta is stepping down, some see an opportunity for change.

Several congressional lawmakers and the activist group Fed Up are calling on the agency to appoint the system’s first black president at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

Lisa Hagen / WABE

Last week in Kansas, federal officials arrested three men they say were plotting to bomb an apartment building that’s home to many Somali-Muslim immigrants. Officials say the men are linked to a loose network of militia groups known as the Three Percenters.

A chapter of that group operates near Atlanta. A windshield decal on Chris Hill’s white truck marks his membership below the words “R.I.P. Johnny Reb.”

“Are we scary? Are we intimidating? I’d say no,” Hill said.

Gibbs Gardens
Gibbs Gardens

Most residents and visitors to Atlanta are familiar with the popular Atlanta Botanical Garden in Midtown and Callaway Gardens located south of the city in Pine Mountain. But what about the hidden gems on the city’s north side?

Here are three North Metro Atlanta botanical gardens that deserve a visit this fall when plants like Japanese maples and goldenrod are at the height of their brilliant colors. Take a look at what Gibbs Gardens, Smith-Gilbert Gardens and Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Gainesville location have to offer this season.

Gibbs Gardens

Georgia Officials Say Election Cannot Be Rigged

Oct 18, 2016
A sign greets voters before they step up to cast their ballot at a polling site, Tuesday, July 22, 2014, in Atlanta.
AP Photo

You can't prove a negative, but that is the task of election officials in the last few weeks of the presidential race. 

Rhetoric by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump that the election could be rigged is making it difficult for state officials to convince the public that voting equipment can't favor a particular candidate. 

Chris Ferguson / WABE

Fulton County sent letters to registered voters to tell them where to vote next month, but many of them ended up at wrong addresses or left voters confused.

In Susan White's case, the mistake was obvious.

She got a letter telling her to vote in Fulton County at Morningside Baptist Church. The problem is, she lives in DeKalb County.

"Someone maybe does need to vote at Morningside Baptist. But they're not at my house," said White.

Fulton County blames a vendor for using address forwarding records and sending thousands of letters to incorrect homes.

Richard Martin

For many in Atlanta, the annual Little Five Points Halloween festival is as much a part of October as the holiday itself. Children and adults get into character weeks early to line Moreland and Euclid avenues, waiting to grab the candy hurled from parade floats. 

Voters cast ballots in Georgia's primary election at a polling site in a firehouse Tuesday, March 1, 2016, in Atlanta.
David Goldman / Associated Press

Election Day 2016 is on Nov. 8, but voters can take part in the political process starting this week.

Early voting starts Monday in all of Georgia’s 159 counties. Everyone who is registered in Georgia can vote early.

Hitting the ballots early is popular in the Peach State as state officials say close to two million Georgians cast their votes ahead of the last presidential election.

Every county in Georgia has at least one early voting location.

Northbound traffic on I75-I85 headed Downtown
Alison Guillory / WABE

In January, new toll road options will open along a 12-mile stretch of Interstate 75 South of downtown Atlanta. Officials call it a highway within a highway, according to this week’s Atlanta Business Chronicle.

For up to 90 cents a mile, harried motorists heading to work, an important business meeting or to see their kid’s ballgame will be able to move from a gridlocked general-use lane into a toll lane offering a speed-limit drive.

For Sale Sign in front of a Marietta home
Al Such / WABE

The deadline to apply for a new state program that helps with underwater mortgages is Tuesday.

The program, called Underground Georgia, aims to help homeowners who owe more on their houses than their homes are worth, said Carmen Chubb, deputy commissioner for housing at the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. Eligible homeowners can get up to $50,000 towards their principal mortgage balances, she said.

Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

A federal judge has ordered an extension of the voter registration deadline for one county in coastal Georgia after Hurricane Matthew disrupted the final sign-up days for new voters.

U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. ruled Friday that voters in Savannah and surrounding Chatham County must be allowed to register through next Tuesday. Moore said in the ruling that granting the extension was "the right thing to do."

Stickers reading "I'm a Georgia Voter" sit on a table as a voter leaves a polling site after casting a ballot Tuesday, July 26, 2016, in Atlanta.
AP Photo/David Goldman

Early voting begins on Monday, Oct. 17. To prepare, Fulton County has launched a new early voting website.

Dwight Brower is Fulton County's election chief. Brower said the website will help with cutting down on long lines.

"We had no wait time that the public could access before,” Brower said. “Now anyone that has access to the computer before they go to the poll, they can actually see the estimated wait time. It's just another tool that the citizen voters have."

Linda Hague, of Kansas City, MO, loads merchandise to sell at a campaign event with Vice President Joe Biden and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Friday, July 8, 2016, in Scranton, Pa.
AP Photo/Mel Evans

November is approaching, and that means news reports about every little thing candidates do and say will be raising Atlanta drivers’ blood pressure more than usual on their commutes. To some, hearing a candidate’s name at the water cooler is even more draining than discussing last year’s Super Bowl.

Deal Struck For $80M BeltLine Project, Adjustments To Trail

Oct 14, 2016
David Goldman / Associated Press

While much of the Atlanta BeltLine’s development so far has involved walking and biking trails, transit options have long been on the drawing board for parts of the 22-mile project. Those plans were in jeopardy until recently according to a report in this week’s Atlanta Business Chronicle.

An agreement has been reached to allow a big new mixed-use project to proceed on the Atlanta BeltLine while preserving future transit options along a rapidly developing area of the Eastside Trail.

Courtesy Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport officials say they'll close some outer lanes in front of the North Terminal starting Saturday to start construction on a huge canopy that will connect the parking deck to the terminals.

“The canopy represents is an opportunity for us to protect all of our passengers from the elements, but it also provides a very dramatic entrance to this airport,” interim Airport CEO Roosevelt Council said Thursday.

Hurricane Victims Without Flood Insurance Weigh Options

Oct 13, 2016
A woman who identified herself as Valerie walks along flooded President Street after leaving her homeless camp after Hurricane Matthew caused flooding, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016, in Savannah, Ga.
AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton

Waist-deep floodwaters from Hurricane Matthew coursed down the street in Pooler and seeped under Lori Galemore's doors, swamping the carpets and furniture as she and her three sons retreated upstairs, where they stayed until firefighters arrived by boat.

Galemore and her neighbors in Pooler, a community about 35 miles inland from the evacuated Georgia coast, were deluged not by seawater driven ashore by the hurricane, but by rain and runoff that overwhelmed a drainage ditch at the end of their cul-de-sac.

Little Five Points Halloween Festival and Parade
Karen Burkenpas

There’s no shortage of things to do in Atlanta this weekend, and here at Atlanta PlanIt, we’ve compiled our top picks.

One of the top Halloween parades in the country returns this weekend, along with a variety of other popular events. You can stay in town for a special arts festival from the city of Atlanta, or head outside the Perimeter to Roswell for an afternoon garden party with local restaurants. Take a look at what’s happening around metro Atlanta this weekend, Oct. 14 though. 16.

Friday, Oct. 14